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Titus Andronicus, directed by Silviu Purcarete for the National Theater in Craiova, Romania, 14 March 1992.
Staged in the aftermath of the 1989 revolution, Purcarete’s production was set in fratricidal violence of the post-communist Balkans. It won several awards at festivals in Romania, Canada, and Brazil. Despite international interest in contemporary resonances and relevance of his adaptation, Purcarete maintained that he never intended to “make any connection with Romania’s political situation” (Sunday Age, 12 Sept 1993). Speeches were condensed and communicated through digital screens.
In the final scene, Saturninus, Tamora and Lucius are seated at a long table while Titus, dressed as a cook, kills Lavinia who is kneeling in front of a washbasin. Titus kills Lavinia by throwing a white veil on her head. He returns to the table and resumes eating, as if nothing had happened. There is no sense of horrific shock or disgust except for occasional gasps from the audience. The guests continued to eat as well.
Metadata, video clips, and research by Lucian Ghita
Born and raised in Romania, Lucian Ghita went to Yale in 2005 after completing two Master’s degrees in American Studies (Bucharest) and Culture of the European Renaissance (Warwick). His research focuses on Renaissance literature and drama, European avant-garde theatre (especially French), performance studies, critical theory, theater theory and history. Lucian is currently completing his dissertation, which examines the performance and reception of Shakespeare and his contemporaries in the French theatrical avant-garde from the late 19th to themid-20th century. By unearthing the history of this literary and theatrical reception, he argues that Elizabethan and Jacobean drama shaped the cultural and political imaginary of the avant-garde in profound ways that continue to reverberate in contemporary plays and performances. He has published articles in Shakespeare Yearbook, Prose Studies, CLCWeb: Comparative Literatur eand Culture, Literature Compass, and The Journal of the Kafka Society of America. His essay on Julie Taymor’s Titus appeared in Shakespeare in Asia, Hollywood, and Cyberspace, ed. Alexander C. Y. Huang and Charles Ross (Purdue UP, 2009). He is a co-organizer of the Balkan Film Series and a former coordinator of the Open Forum series. [http://lucianghita.com]
Lucian Ghita (Yale University) would like to thank Silviu Purcarete and the National Theater in Craiova, in particular Director Mircea Cornisteanu, Emil Boroghina, Vally Predoaica, and Iolanda Manescu, who generously provided access to archival and press materials on the production, as well as permission to use photographs and video clips from the production.
Titus kills Lavinia
Note: In the final scene, Saturninus, Tamora and Lucius are seated at a long table while Titus, dressed as a cook, kills Lavinia who is kneeling in front of a washbasin. Titus kills Lavinia by throwing a white veil on her head. He returns to the table and resumes eating, as if nothing had happened. There is no sense of horrific shock or disgust except for occasional gasps from the audience. The guests continued to eat as well.
Lavinia mourning her brothers
Note: A white-clad Lavinia (Ozana Oancea) approached Titus' sons who are being laid to rest. Note the contrast between Lavinia’s ethereal appearance and the savagery of her brothers.
Note: Titus and Marcus mourning a mutilated Lavinia